Join Us For the “Braves At Home Opener!”

Braves At Home Opener


FILE – In this June 19, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets in Atlanta.(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Braves fans, we’re bringing baseball to you at home. Join us this evening as we celebrate Atlanta Braves baseball on the original date of our home opener with the Braves “At Home” Opener which will include exclusive interviews and elements of your favorite gameday entertainment like:

  • Interviews with Freddie Freeman, Manager Brian Snitker and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos
  • A special National Anthem performed by Timothy Miller
  • The Home Depot Tool Race, RaceTrac’s Beat the Freeze, and more!

Tune in on Braves YouTube, Facebook and Los Bravos Facebook starting at 5:30 p.m. ET today! Then tune in to Fox Sports South at 7 p.m. ET for a replay of last year’s home opener against the Chicago Cubs.

Braves pitcher Mike Soroka joins Chuck and Chernoff

FILE – Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Soroka delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Monday, June 17, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore – FILE)

Chuck and Chernoff are joined by Atlanta Braves Pitcher Mike Soroka and we all catch up on what the Braves Pitcher is doing during the  “COVID-19 Baseball Offseason.”

BRAVES COMMENT ON BILL BARTHOLOMAY PASSING


FILE – Braves Chairman Bill Bartholomay (Left) and Ted Turner (Right) talking with the press after Turner bought the Braves from the Atlanta-LaSalle Corporation on Jan. 7, 1976. (FILE – AP PHOTO / Charles E. Kelly)

ATLANTA, GA – There is baseball in Atlanta today because of Bill Bartholomay. Affectionately known as “Mr. B.”, Bartholomay was instrumental in bringing people together and fostering diversity while helping shape Atlanta as a major city in the south when he relocated the Braves from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966. His warmth and grace were felt equally by Presidents, MLB Commissioners, business titans, Braves players and fans.

He was a true gentleman, who served on a variety of MLB committees over the course of decades and is widely regarded as one of the great influencers of the game during the modern era.  Mr. B was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2002 for his role in making the Braves a storied franchise with his constant presence since moving the team to Atlanta.

He was part of our organization for the last 57 years and never missed an Opening Day or significant event. He was a dear, thoughtful friend whose presence will be missed, but his legacy will surely stand the test of time for the Atlanta Braves and all of baseball. We send our deepest sympathies and condolences to his children Virginia, Bill, Jamie, Betsy and Sally, his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Atlanta Braves Foundation – creating a relief fund to help gameday workers


ATLANTA (March 17, 2020) – It was announced earlier today, that all 30 Major League Baseball teams will donate $1 million to assist thousands of ballpark staff impacted by the delayed start of 2020 MLB season due to the COVID19 pandemic.

The Atlanta Braves, through the Atlanta Braves Foundation, are creating a special disaster relief fund to help gameday workers and certain other affected members of our baseball community with special financial needs that may come up before Braves baseball begins, and will position the club to support our baseball family and our communities in the coming weeks and months.

“We are in an uncertain time and want to help our gameday staff who truly make Truist Park feel like home,” said Terry McGuirk, Atlanta Braves Chairman. “Our gameday staff are part of our family and they are the reason for our friendly and welcoming atmosphere.  So, in this time of need, we want to do our part and help them.”

Fans throughout Braves Country have expressed a desire to help as well, and with this fund they can assist too by going to www.braves.com/relief to donate to this specific fund.

The Braves also intend to provide certain relief assistance for ballpark workers at each of the Minor League Baseball facilities the Braves operate, including the Gwinnett Stripers, Mississippi Braves, Rome Braves and Danville Braves.  Additionally, gameday staff at CoolToday Park will be paid for the canceled spring training games.

Details on the implementation are still being formalized to ensure we maximize the need to coordinate with state and local laws as well as collective bargaining obligations to maximize the benefits for each affected group. The organization will communicate directly to the affected staff with those details in the coming days/weeks.

The Braves thoughts continue to be with our community as we navigate this together.

The Braves, MLB & Coronavirus – One Week Later…

BY KEVIN MCALPIN
ATLANTA, GA – One week ago, the Braves were getting ready to take on the Red Sox at CoolToday Park in North Port. That was the night Major League Baseball announced that clubhouses would be closing to the media in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19. In the last seven days, Spring Trainings have abruptly shut down operations, leaving fans to wonder what’s next when it comes to the 2020 season. Obviously, the health and well being of everyone involved is the most important caveat here. On Monday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced the start of the Regular Season would be delayed in accordance to the new CDC recommendation restricting events of more than 50 people for at least the next eight weeks. This means that at the very best case scenario, we’d be looking at early to mid May, which still feels extremely optimistic at this point.

“MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead” a statement from the League said today. “We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge ball baseball fans to follow suit” the release added.

While the Commissioner’s Office has said they intend to play a full 162 game schedule, pushing everything back by at least two months will make that a nearly impossible feat to accomplish. Even with double headers or seven inning games, players will still need days off sprinkled in following extended stretches or travel east from the west coast. Also in play is the possibility of skipping the All-Star Break for the first time since World War II. These are certainly unprecedented times and speculating on when things could return to normal would be extremely premature at this point. As in last week, with things changing as rapidly as they are, we are once again left with far more questions than answers. But at the end of the day, what’s most important is the health and well being of everyone involved. Stay safe, friends.

@KevinMcAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TO DELAY 2020 OPENING DAY BY AT LEAST TWO WEEKS


March 12, 2020
Spring Training Games Cancelled As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) Today and WBCQ Games Postponed; MLB Will Continue to Evaluate Ongoing Events and Effects on 2020 Scheduling
Following a call with the 30 Clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic. This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans.
MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.
MLB and the Clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.

Braves: Two Week Until The Regular Season Starts…Where Are We?

FILE- Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos (left) and left-handed pitcher Will Smith, who just signed a three-year $39 million contract with a one year club option, take questions during a press conference introducing Smith at SunTrust Park on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, in Atlanta. (FILE – Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

KEVIN MCALPIN
NORTH PORT, FL- With the end of Spring Training in sight and the regular season now just two weeks away, the marquee roster battles over the last month have mainly focused on third base and the starting rotation. But there’s another area that could still be up for grabs over the next couple weeks and that is how the club will round out it’s bullpen. As of now, Will Smith stands as the lone left handed lock for the pen, but ideally, a second southpaw would be ideal to add to the mix. So let’s take a look at the most logical candidates for that final spot in the Atlanta pen:

AJ Minter – The 26 year old Minter has made 117 appearances at the Big League level over the last three seasons, but command has always been his Achilles heel. In 2019, Minter struck out 35 batters in 29.1 innings pitched, but over that span, also issued 28 free passes (five intentional). Minter has shown flashes of promise over the last three seasons. In 2017, as a 23 year old, Minter went his first 13 appearances (13 innings pitched) without issuing a walk. However, over the past two seasons, Minter is allowing four-and-a-half walks per nine and has posted a 4.47 ERA in his last 101 appearances. Harnessing command of his four seamer in 2020 could be huge to get him back on track. But for now, Minter remains in line to start the season at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Tyler Matzek – In camp as a non-roster invite, Matzek has made quite the impression over the last few weeks. In three appearances this Spring, Matzek has struck out seven of the 26 batters faced without issuing a single free pass in 3.2 IP. This time last year, Matzek was in camp on a Minor League deal with the Diamondbacks and would later end up playing Independent Ball with the Texas AirHogs of the American Association. After posting a 2.64 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 30.2 innings with the Hogs, Matzek’s contract was purchased by the Braves where he spent the final two months of the season between Mississippi and Gwinnett. Matzek is no stranger to Braves bench coach Walt Weiss, who managed him in 2014 and 2015 with the Rockies. While Matzek has shown to have pretty good command this spring, the club would need to open a spot on the 40 man roster if he was to break camp with the Big League club.

Grant Dayton – Originally an 11th round pick of the Marlins in the 2010 Draft out of Auburn, Dayton broke into the Big Leagues in 2016 with the Dodgers and was a waiver claim of the Braves back in November of 2017. We saw Dayton appear in 14 games from the Atlanta pen last season where he posted a 3.00 ERA and held lefties to a .250 average against. However, Grapefruit League play has not been kind to Dayton this year as he’s been touched up to the tune of a 12.71 ERA in five appearances with as many walks (three) as strikeouts.

Phil Pfeifer – The 27 year old product of Vanderbilt has very quietly put together a nice spring for himself. Appearing in six games from the Braves pen, Pfeifer is yet to allow a run and has allowed just four hits over five and two thirds innings of work. But the strikeout number is the most encouraging sign as Pfeifer has punched out nine batters and issued just one walk. Pfeifer spent time at three levels of the Braves Farm System last season, combining to post a 3.44 ERA in 30 appearances (18 starts) with 159 strikeouts in 133.1 innings of work. While Pfeifer was part of the latest wave of cuts on Wednesday morning, he certainly caught the eye of the Braves skipper, who said he could envision a scenario where the Braves use Pfeifer at some point here in 2020.

External help – We all know players have “out clauses” in their contracts and typically over the final two weeks of camp, we see guys get cut loose or walk on their own. I’d say there’s certainly a chance the other lefty from the pen on Opening Day isn’t even here as of yet. Much like Anibal Sanchez and Josh Tomlin joined the team in the final week of Spring, I could certainly see a situation where the club adds another veteran lefty to give them that extra depth in the bullpen to start the season.

Lone lefty – There’s also the possibility the club could enter the regular season with just Will Smith as the lone lefty. Fortunately, the club is in a good position where they don’t have any matchup guys. Their righties have track records of getting lefties out, so there’s definitely the possibility they could go with seven righties out of the gate. Either way, it’ll be a fun storyline to follow over the final two weeks from North Port!

@KevinMcAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

Braves Minor League Players To Watch In 2020


Atlanta Braves’ Bryce Ball follows through on a home run in the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Sarasota, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

BY KEVIN MCALPIN
NORTH PORT, FL – Part of the fun of Spring Training every year is getting a chance to lay eyes on players we only follow from afar through box scores and game reports. So, for those across the Southeast that plan on taking in a game from one of Atlanta’s minor league affiliates, here’s a few names you should keep close tabs on in 2020…

Drew Waters: At just 21 years old, Waters has quickly rose through the Braves Farm System and is knocking on the door of being Big League ready. Waters split 2019 between AA and AAA, combining to hit .309 with a .360 OBP. The Woodstock, GA native was a second round pick of the club in 2017 and has shown the ability to play all three outfield spots here in Spring Training. A switch hitter, Waters finds himself among the Top 50 prospects in the game and should the Braves suffer a major injury in the outfield, Waters could be the next man up.

Cristian Pache: Much like Waters, Pache has been another fast mover through Atlanta’s rich farm system. We’ve seen Pache start in both CF (his natural position) and RF, though he didn’t look quite as comfortable in the corner. Defensively, I’ve had scouts tell me that he could start in the Big Leagues tomorrow. It’s his bat that the club would like to see catch up, as he hit just one home run following his promotion to AAA last season. I’ve also had a few folks tell me that he could eventually prove to be an even better defender than Ronald Acuña Jr.

Ian Anderson: Ranked among many publications as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Anderson has made a few appearances in Grapefruit League play. While it’s unrealistic to think he could move into the rotation in Atlanta to start the season, I wouldn’t rule out seeing Anderson get a call up within the next year. A first round pick of the Braves in 2016, Anderson finished 2019 with Gwinnett but posted a 6.57 ERA and struggled with his command, issuing 18 walks (to go with 25 strikeouts) in 24.2 IP. Thus far, through two spring appearances, Anderson has struck out four over 2.2 IP.

Shea Langeliers: A first round pick of the Braves in the 2019 Draft out of Baylor, Langeliers is another that could find himself on the fast track to Atlanta. Coaches have noted his arm, ability to call a game, pop time and of course power at the plate as reasons to believe Langeliers could be the long term solution behind the dish.

Bryce Ball: At 6’6, Ball flat out looks the part. A 24th round pick in last years Draft, Ball has shown that light tower power here in camp that we heard so much about last June. In 63 games last year at Dallas Baptist, Ball hit 18 homers in 228 at bats with a 1.057 OPS. Those numbers carried over to pro ball last year as he belted 17 more bombs in 62 games between Danville and Rome. Ball could prove to be a really nice late round steal for the club down the road, especially if the DH eventually comes to the National League.

So there you have it folks, just a few names to follow and go watch if you live anywhere near any of the Braves Farm teams across the Southeast!

@KevinMcAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @bravesradionet.

BRAVES ALMOST READY TO ROLL INTO THE REGULAR SEASON

BUCK BELUE
ATLANTA, GA – For our Braves, it’s almost “Go Time!” The Spring Training days are disappearing in a hurry now. Basically, it’s about time to get your act together.

FILE =- Atlanta Braves first baseman Freedie Freeman and the team take batting practice while preparing to play the Baltimore Orioles in a spring baseball game at the Braves new facility CoolToday Park on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in North Port, Fla. (Curtis Compton/AP FILE)

What a relief to hear Freddie Freeman’s elbow is better. He’s our MVP. Can’t afford to lose him for any length of time. Anyway, Freddie will get his 30 at bats that he needs to be comfortable, when the real games start. And yes, you should be expecting another one of those 30-100 seasons.

Should we be concerned about the Boy Wonder, Ronald Acuna? He’s had a tough start in the exhibition games. After going 0-3 with 3 strikeouts on Tuesday, Ronald is 2-16 at the plate (hitting .105). No worries. He’s probably “just working on some things.” Like you, I’m expecting another monster season out of Acuna. Full speed ahead. When the curtain comes up, he’ll be focused on that 40-40 thing. That will be fun to track this season.

FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2019, file photo, Chicago Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels works against a San Diego Padres batter during the fourth inning of a baseball game in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Cole Hamels situation (he’s out injured) is probably a frustration, but I look for this to play out in the Braves favor. So he misses some time early in the season…big deal. The Braves can cover that up for 1-2 months. The hope here would be Hamels is fresher & stronger late in the season, for the stretch run and the postseason.

To begin the season, the Braves rotation appears to be something like this: Soroka, Fried, Folty, Newcomb and Felix. Kyle Wright looks improved and more prepared to win. Wilson and Touki are what you might call quality depth. Anderson looms. Unlike most organizations, the Braves have 10 dudes they can feel comfortable starting.

The competition at third base has both Austin Riley & Johan Camargo off to good starts in the Grapefruit League action. Riley just hit a bomb today (Tuesday). Carmargo looks more relaxed at the plate and can flash the leather at 3B. I look at it like this: Do you want 30 HR’s or 15? Also, Austin looks legit at third base. Riley appears ready to take over at third. Go with him. And go with Camargo off the bench. Looks like a no-brainer.

Anyway, I’ve got the Braves going 93-69 and earning a spot in the postseason! The competition in the NL East will be tougher, but our team is up for the challenge.
More Braves talk on The Buck & Kincade Show, weekdays 12-3, on The Fan!

Markakis leads by example with NL East champion Braves

Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis takes batting practice during spring training baseball practice in North Port, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) —

As he searched for the best things Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis brings to the team, bench coach Walt Weiss shared several.

Highly credible. Strong, quiet leader. One of the most respected players in baseball. Humble. Calming force.

But you could tell Weiss had something else on his mind.

And then he said it.

“He’s one of those guys that’s the conscience of the team,” Weiss said.

Markakis made some of the strongest comments this spring about the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.

The soundbite — “I feel every single guy over there deserves a beating” — is what most people heard. But his other comments on how this affected baseball’s integrity spoke more about what Markakis is about.

“I know we’re all competitors, we’re out to compete, but there are right ways to do it and wrong ways to do it. I 100% disagree the way with the way they did it. A lot of people were hurt by it.”

Weiss wasn’t surprised by what Markakis said. “That fire runs pretty deep,” he said.

“When you see something with our team, it gets guys thinking, ‘Should we do this, should we not do this?’” Weiss said. “Let’s watch Nicky or ask him to see if this is what we should be doing. That’s powerful.”

Entering his 15th season, the 36-year-old Markakis is part of a deep outfield that includes Ronald Acuna, who is talking a 50-homer, 50-steal season, newcomer Marcell Ozuna, three-time Gold Glover Ender Inciarte and Adam Duvall, who had a strong postseason.

Markakis hit a solid .285 for the NL East champions last year.

“Everything works out for a reason,” Markakis said. “The only thing you can do is everything you can. We’re here for each other, pulling for each other. You want people to be successful.

“It’s a good mix of young and old guys. With this team, all the experience, talent and passion is there. Braves fans should be excited,” he said.

Markakis said he doesn’t try to impart his views on other guys. In fact, he says he seeks to learn things from them. In the past couple of years, what he’s taken from them is not just their daily effort but daily approach.

“How they smile, go about their business, it’s a pleasure to come to work,” he said. “I don’t see myself as the guy everyone comes to and I have an answer. We can learn from other.”

When Weiss hears those comments, he thinks leader.

“There’s an element of humility,” Weiss said. “He raises the bar by the way he works, the way he competes. Especially with a young team, I’ve always felt you have to have the right type of veterans. The younger players look at those guys. They’re learning how to act like a big leaguer.”

Markakis said he hasn’t received much feedback from the Astros’ comments, adding, “It’s been pretty quiet. I said what I said and I’ll leave it at that.”

“A thousand things run through your head (before speaking). I paused, collected my thoughts and then deliver what you want to deliver.”

NOTES: Manager Brian Snitker doesn’t see 3B Johan Camargo and Austin Riley splitting time or platooning this season. It’s more likely one of those players wins the job and the other gets sent to the minors. “It all sounds good,” Snitker said “You have your meetings at 4 in the afternoon and by 9:30, it’s blown up. Realistically, no. If you’re not playing every day, it doesn’t do it justice.” Snitker added both have performed well offensively. Riley saw his first work at first base Saturday and Snitker said he’s a plus defender in the outfield. … Snitker said 1B Freddie Freeman (elbow) could play Monday night if he feels good after Sunday’s workout in North Port. Freeman hit in the batting cage Saturday. … Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz got roughed up by Boston on Sunday, allowing three earned runs on four hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. He gave up a home run to Rafael Devers.

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More AP MLB: HERE and TWITTER.